Luke Daniels – The Met, Bury – 4th May 2022
It’s what’s become universally known as Star Wars day. Followed two days later by the return of the Si(x)th. Very clever. Meanwhile…
Gigs been racking up thick and fast of late. We’ve been at The Met twice in the past week and also seen the mind-boggling Tool show at Manchester Arena. The latter was an exercise in attaining new heights of making a spectacle in arena rock, taking the visual (and musical) aspect to new highs, although we didn’t provide a review as Tool gets their own fair share of column/screen time. The point is, however, that sometimes you don’t always need a touring entourage of epic proportions, video screens of huge magnitude and songs of a monolithic nature to get the message across.
At The Met, a man pulls off his jumper and sits down to give a performance in the studio accompanied by a guitar and a melodeon (‘the box’) with little ceremony and gives his all just as much as Maynard and the boys. Luke Daniels may not have taken thirteen years to produce his last album, 2019’s Old Friends And Exhausted Enemies (store that phrase, it’s a handy one) being his last release, although with three years passed, it’s worrying… No need though as there’s a well funded new project in the pipeline that involves The Cobhers that we get a taste of. Watch out for some live appearances too where ethy’ll be showing off their folky interpretations of popular hits.
Luke’s CV includes a long list of accompaniest work with the likes of the Riverdance band and to us, most notably with Cara Dillon. You can possibly imagine the surprise when we first saw him pick up a guitar and play with aplomb. And it’s that fingerpicking prowess in particular that stands out in tonight’s performance.
No greater test comes than with Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, being Dylan, it’s not easy and as Luke notes, it seems to get faster quite naturally as it goes along and The Wild Rover gets a finger picked accompaniment to the familiar melody too. The latter much more measured than the widely acceptable raucous versions and the style almost, dare we say, Carthy-esque with even a gentle string bend or two. Similarly familiar to most is Candadee-I-O. A nod to the man to whom a lot nod, Nic Jones, and we hardly miss the polphon’s musical box accompaniment as the notes ring out a similar message. The Girl With The Nut Brown Hair showcases his most recent work; the original of which are the unique blending of ancient – well, quite old – poetry to create ‘new’ folk songs. Well worth seeking out.
Punctauting the songs and stories are several visits to ‘the box’ where he offers some tunes that have a strong Scottish feel although there’s no temptation to sword dance or indulge in something jiggy as the Riverdance era hoves into view. The way he also moves with ease into something that just emerges or a planned epic, a reminder that the meloden is the key instrument in the Luke Daniels arsenal.
His Parable Of The Three Servants towards the end is a reminder song, as he remind sus in the introduction, not to squander your talents. he certainly has;t as he adds the (important) message that when it comes to live music, to keep on supporting the little guys. Or do both, like we do. He’s right on point though. Size isn’t always important.